Occurrence and origin of carbohydrates in peat samples from a red mangrove environment as reflected by abundances of neutral monosaccharides
Acid hydrolysates of fractionated red mangrove peat samples and handpicked roots and rootlets of Rhizophora mangle (red mangrove) from Jewfish Key in the Florida Everglades were analysed for neutral monosaccharides. In the peat samples two major sources of carbohydrates could be determined: (1) vascular plant carbohydrates derived from Rhizophora mangle and(2) microbially derived carbohydrates. Significant correlations exist between the relative contributions of most neutral monosaccharides and the total carbohydrate concentration. The fine-grained peat fractions yielded low total neutral monosaccharides whose distributions indicate contributions of microbial carbohydrates. The coarse-grained peat samples yielded high total neutral monosaccharides with distributions indicating major contributions of vascular plant carbohydrates. It is estimated that a substantial part of the sugars analysed in the finegrained samples originates from microorganisms ([cyano] bacteria, algae).The absence of a trend in total neutral monosaccharide concentrations with depth suggests that microbial degradation is limited to the upper levels of the peat and that the microbial sugars determined at lower peat levels are derived from nonviable or dormant microorganisms. Results from factor analysis may suggest differences in microbial populations in the various peat samples.